Facades ~ A Poem

Facades

I look at you now

Because you are smiling

With joy that can’t fail to draw my gaze

The days and the nights

I spent listlessly whiling

Are long gone since you came

You came like the dawn

Full of light and beguiling

Coaxing me out of my shell

The way that you move renders me quite distracted

And I suspect you can tell

You flirt and you dance but sometimes you’re abstracted

Sometimes you act just like me

Youthful of face yet your eyes seem retracted

It’s a burden clear to see

Once you were tired

And your smile

Fell and faltered

And you were there for a while

Without your mask you seem sad, you seem altered

A state I spent half my life knowing

Then you resumed your mask

And you went back to glowing

And I saw myself echoed in you

So I pasted on smiles and I joined you in your game

And watched you stare at me too

With you in my life things have never been the same

I can’t quite breathe without you

For now I will tease

And perhaps play along

Try to topple your ease

And perhaps masquerade

Like a creature who belongs

Try to mimic your song

And maybe one day when we end up as fast friends

We can drop our facades

We can stop playing life like a tense game of cards

And set down our heavy guards

I’ll stay with you

Through it all

Until that day

Merely a thought, what do you say?

~ Helen Cryestira Viorel, Monday, May 27th, 2019

Artwork by Arte-Anonima

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The Colours Of Her Smile – An Excerpt

Isa held herself rigidly as the wolf approached her.

Relief softened her posture when it stepped into the glade of moonlight. In the beast’s furry face, pure gold eyes gleamed at her. Those eyes were like shards of a blazing autumn sunset. Those eyes were ones she knew well.

It was Arden.

Confusion overshadowed the relief. Why was he braced in an aggressive stance, hackles raised and teeth bared at her? A low growling hummed steadily from his throat.

Too late, she realized he was growling at something behind her. Something slammed with stunning force into her back, sending her rolling through the dirt.

Disoriented, she pushed herself up onto her arms, her head spinning. Cold fear shot through her as she saw Arden’s graceful wolf body arcing through the air towards a hulking battle cat.

The huge black feline swiped at him with a massive claw. It was a terrifying, muscular creature, almost the size of a horse. Arden snarled and snapped, keeping his distance, then lunging for the cat’s throat at unpredictable intervals. The battle cat spat and hissed, infuriated, as Arden avoided the heavy blows aimed at him.

Isa’s breath caught in her throat as Arden lunged again. This time, the cat was quick. With an enraged yowl it caught Arden in mid-air, sending him flying into the broad trunk of a nearby tree.

Isa winced as she heard Arden’s body thudding hard into the wood.

He staggered to his feet, winded but undeterred. He flung himself against the cat.

Surprised, the great black cat was overpowered by this sudden and ferocious retaliation, and Arden’s teeth sank into its velvet throat. Its monstrous body moved no more.

Isa breathed freely again, as Arden stepped away from his fallen opponent. She suddenly registered a stinging pain in her upper back. The fabric of her gown felt warm and wet against her skin.

Arden shifted back to human form as he hurried toward her, and his first words confirmed her suspicions. “You’re hurt.” his dark golden eyes were hard as polished metal as he held off his worry.

Isa slowly levered herself off the leafy ground. She knelt upright in the dirt, using her much-practiced breathing technique to control the pain.

She felt Arden kneeling behind her. His rough and calloused hands were at their gentlest as he peeled off the shredded fabric.

He inhaled sharply as he uncovered her wound. “You need a healer.”

“I am a healer,” Isa said faintly.

“Yes, but you can’t treat yourself like this. What are you doing out here anyway?” Arden added.

Isa sighed. “Let’s just say you were right about my temporary allegiances.”

“I see. I’m taking you to Lex.” Without another word, Arden swept Isa into his arms as if she were a small child. Isa gripped him tightly, startled. Recovering, she looked into his impassive face with incessant silver-blue eyes.

“Lex?” she demanded. “Lex who?”

“Lex Lonewolf. Yes, he’s alive. La Luna knows how, though.”

Isa’s eyes shone emerald green. “I know how,” she said softly. “You went out looking for him, didn’t you?”

Arden’s stony facade flickered. “No. He’s always been resourceful. He pulled through.”

Isa smiled despite the pain searing across her back. She let her head rest against Arden’s chest. “You went to find him,” her tone was almost smug. “I know you did.”

“I think you’d better stop talking and rest.” Arden said coldly.

Isa shrugged. “If you think so, my love.” her eyes were already drained of their vibrant green colour, a strained grey overtaking her crystalline irises. “Is it far?”

But she was asleep before she could comprehend Arden’s answer.

§§§

Isa’s eyes fluttered open to see the featureless interior of a military tent. The walls of heavy brown cloth fell unbroken all around, but the flap at the far end of the tent let forth torrents of harsh sunlight.

Isa remembered her injuries. She got up with deliberate slowness. Dull throbs of pain shot across her upper back and her left shoulder.

Isa sighed as she noticed that the entire bodice of her gown had been ripped off, and her corset removed. She was covered only by the stained and tattered skirt of her ruined gown, and a simple cotton tunic that certainly didn’t belong to her. Her torso was encased by bandages, and the white wrappings extended across her left shoulderblade and ended halfway down her upper arm.

“Alright, Countess?”

Isa looked up to see Arden seated on the floor in the corner of the tent. Dark circles gathered under his eyes.

Isa got to her feet unsteadily. “Were you watching me sleep?”

“Yes.”

“Because my injuries were that bad or because you just like to?”

Arden shrugged brazenly. “Both, I think.”

Isa sniffed, feigning annoyance. “Well, I’m alright now. Where did you put my corset?”

Arden pointed. The bloodied corset lay beside Isa’s sleeping mat.

Isa pulled off the cotton tunic. Her back and shoulder protested painfully, but she ignored it.

Arden watched her, exasperated. “Why don’t you leave the tunic on?”

Isa adjusted the corset against her battered torso. “I’m not wearing that hideous tunic. I’d sooner die of cold.”

“You very well might.” Arden pointed out.

Isa ignored this. She turned her back to him, gesturing to the loose lace ties trailing down her exposed back. “Lace me up so I can go outside.”

Arden got up and approached her languidly. His eyes briefly skimmed the additional bruises she had sustained from being mauled by a battle cat. The discoloration stood out lividly against her milky skin. He sighed.

He lifted her dark hair off her back and banked it over her right shoulder. Deftly, quickly, he laced her up.

Isa turned to face him, smiling. Bruised and battered and clad only in a tattered skirt and a bloodstained corset, she looked like some macabre goddess of war.

“I require breakfast.” she declared, her eyes shifting to turquoise. A vivacious, playful colour. Her health had not forsaken her despite her ordeal.

Arden gave her an almost-smile. Warmth touched his eyes, softening the hard gold, but didn’t reach his lips or lift the heavy shadows that always hung over his features of late.

“Of course, Countess.”

He tucked her hand into the crook of his arm and escorted her out of the tent and into the camp.

Several fires burned around the clearing, the men crowding round them all busily cooking or consuming their breakfast.

Arden wound his way towards a smaller fire at the far end of the woodland clearing. Two people were seated by it; a tall man and a short woman.

Isa recognized the woman as Eryna Vlair, Arden’s right hand, who turned to look at her curiously as they approached.

The man said something to Eryna, his tone conveying mild irritation. He flipped his long, low ponytail over his shoulder. His hair was completely grey despite his obvious youth, which added to the rakish quality of his good looks. Noticing Eryna wasn’t listening to him, he followed her gaze and locked eyes with Isa. He grinned wickedly.

“Arden. Who’s your friend?” he called as soon as they sat down.

“This is Countess De Lang. She’s our source of information within the Humanist Alliance and the Silver Sisterhood.” Arden said.

“So, she’s our spy?” the grey-haired man simplified.

“Oh, no. Spies are paid.” Isa said, meeting the man’s eyes and turning up her chin. “I’m a defector.”

“You’re the one who diverted General Lasata’s forces when we invaded Madathra?” asked Eryna, leaning forward on the log she perched upon.

Isa nodded to the distinctly feline woman.

“Impressive.” the grey-haired man said, his appreciative gaze lingering on Isa’s roguish outfit.

Arden passed a bowl of porridge to Isa, looking exasperated. “Valerian. Behave. We have much to discuss.”

Isa accepted her breakfast with a grateful smile.

Valerian ignored Arden. He leaned forward, trying to catch Isa’s gaze. “Your eyes just changed colour.” he blurted.

Isa gave him a playful smile. “They probably did.”

Valerian looked intrigued.

Isa absently tugged a lock of her ebony hair out of her face, tucking it behind her noticeably pointy ear.

Valerian snapped his fingers. “You’re an elf! A crystalline elf. That’s why your eyes change colour.”

Isa smirked at him.

“I haven’t met many elves, De Lang.” Valerian told her.

Isa raised her eyebrows in mock severity. “You’re not going to address me as Countess?”

Valerian smirked back. “No, I’m not.”

“If you two are done flirting,” Arden interrupted. “We do have work to do.”

Isa turned and smiled at him, her eyes deep blue and full of charm.

Arden gazed back with a smile barely restrained. Mild envy was tempered by amusement in his guarded yet expressive eyes. Her flirtatious antics were familiar, comforting.

And that smile she was smiling. Her eyes cycled through a range of vibrant colours. Happy colours. Turquoise, azure, violet. The colours that he associated with her warmth, her energy, her love.

Colours rarely played a part in Arden’s life these days. Everything was either indifferent grey or burning gold, alternately draining him or challenging him. His comrades supported him, of course, but there was something in Isa’s vibrancy that could never be found in Eryna’s trusting loyalty, or Valerian’s brotherly warmth.

Isa was life itself; she was beauty incarnate.

And by her side, Arden could at last remember what he was fighting for.

§§§

From Untitled upcoming novel by Helen Cryestira Viorel

Written 13th of March 2018

Dedicated to myself, and to the real Arden Atanastov

Tender And Divine ~ A Poem

Tender & Divine

Broken glass

Litters the pass

You must take to find my heart

It is bright

And it is warm

Full of love you cannot chart

But tell no lies

For I despise

That which is not one of mine

My only world

I built of truth

A world quite tender and divine

Hold my hand

And boldly stand

Upon the empty void of stars

Your heartbeat true

Free of fear

A stunning tale told by your scars

You are my love

The stars above

They shine for you and you alone

If you get lost

And seek me out

Those very stars will guide you home.

~ Helen Cryestira Viorel, 11th of April 2019

My Heart Knows You ~ A Poem

“My Heart Knows You”

My fair fellow creature

Born of love and light

Your healthy glow so free

Captivates my sight

Unburdened by the weight

I’ve carried all my life

Perhaps that’s why I look at you

So carefree kind and blithe

I have no idea who you are

I met you just this day

But maybe we were closest friends

Long ago and far away

Maybe the burden I carry

Was first given unto you

Maybe I took it out of love

For our friendship was so true

Neither one of us can tell

If this speculation fits

Illogical wild fantasy

But love wins over wits

I confuse you I can see

By the question in your eyes

But my heart feels so attuned to you

And my heart never lies

Our world is more than we can know

So do not disregard

This absent loving theory

Leave my daydreams unmarred

My words may sound so odd to you

But all I mean to say

Is maybe I loved you so much

In another time and day

Love is just the strangest thing

Like fragrant petals on the breeze

Drifting brazenly across our lives

And through doors that have no keys

Memory may choose to hold

And there’s not much I forget

The feelings of my heart so old

Not quite forgotten yet

Your heart differs so much from mine

You don’t know me like I know you

You’re more aware of passing time

But my heart knows you and this is true

Confusing us lifetimes apart

By tenderness in oddest ways

None shall ever decode the heart

But let it have its whimsy plays.

.

~ Helen Cryestira Viorel, Monday 11th of March, 2019

Lifetimes Of Ink ~ A Poem

.

Lifetimes of Ink

I turn my head but all I see

Is blankness glaring back at me

The deafening silence will not cease

Till I give in to the call of a writer’s release

Papers and pens and an unsung tune

And the warmth of the sun and the chill of the moon

Frantic descriptions by each chosen word

The pages are flying like the wings of a bird

A half dozen notebooks scattered about

And the rhythm of poetry weaving throughout

And the toils of my characters in their paper-bound worlds

And fictional palaces rich and impearled

I will follow the endless lifetimes of ink

In a way that’s so real there is no need to think.

.

~ Helen Cryestira Viorel, February 25th 2019

Faery Night ~ A Poem

The night is full of shadowed things

And music that the cricket sings

And softly stepping faery feet

And faery wings so light and fleet.

Parted curtains inside allow

The radiance from the moon’s fair brow

Like insubstantial shards of glass

White beams of moonlight softly pass.

Islets made of motes of dust

That flutter if a breeze should thrust

Them off from their mild lilting course

Playful displays of faery force.

Moonbeams cast a festive glow

On the faeries milling to and fro

Converging for their Moonlight Ball

And dressed in splendour one and all.

Musicians of the faery land

Take their violins in ready hand

And play their mirthful melodies

Fit for the ears of royalty.

A hush of awe runs through the crowd

And faery violins sweet and loud

All cease to watch a newcome fae

Her midnight hair all streaked with grey.

She bears herself with stately pride

On emerald wings she proudly glides

Her gown is fine and apple green

She is the lovely Faery Queen.

A smile pricks at her stately lips

And music sways her stately hips

And faery folk dance with their queen

A merry moonlit heartfelt scene.

As faery dancers start to tire

And toothsome boon they much desire

The queen sends off her serving maiden

To fetch the tables richly laden.

When the maid returns she leads

The bearers of the promised feast

Enchanted tables arranged well

Diffusing a delicious smell.

As they lower to the ground

The faery folk all gather round

To partake of fragrant faery stews

And cakes and breads and lemon chews.

And sumptuous golden faery wine

The goblets bright silver and fine

They dine exchanging faery talk

Above the clatter of the faery forks.

The Moonlight Ball should have no end

But dawn approaches round the bend

And human beings begin to stir

Tis time to part the fae concur.

The Faery Queen gets up to stand

And gives a kind wave of her hand

In sweetest of royal goodbyes

On emerald wings away she flies.

The faery folk follow her lead

Taking off with faery speed

One by one or groups entwined

They leave the moonlight far behind.

Empty Pages ~ A Poem

Empty pages

Open to the sky

Unmarked and ageless

They bear no mark or line

Their white expanses

Perhaps will one day hold

An epic novel

In text so big and bold

Or perhaps the scrawling

Of a playful child

Or perhaps the poring

Of a scholar mild

Or perhaps they’re destined

To lay so blank and stark

Unwritten always

Until the world goes dark

Or perhaps a faerie

Will find them thus unused

And absently fill them

While she so softly mused

Or perhaps a kitten

His paws all dipped in ink

Across the empty pages

He will so cutely slink

Or perhaps they will be

Swept into a fire

And burn so very brightly

Flaming dance upon the pyre

Or perhaps they have been

Employed all along

To write this very poem

To write this very song

Empty pages

Open to the sky

Their words immortal

For poems never die.